Escape from the Clinch

By Becca Borawski

In MMA

July 01, 2008

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As anyone who watched the mixed martial arts (MMA) fights between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin witnessed, the Thai clinch when executed by a skilled fighter can quickly become a match-ending scenario. Learning different escapes from the clinch is vital-- especially when fighting an experienced Muay Thai fighter. Last month we worked with Tait Fletcher, a veteran of the television show The Ultimate Fighter, on how to get into the clinch and deliver knee strikes. This month we approach the move from the other side and look closely at one way of escaping from the clinch.

The quickest and simplest escape from the clinch comes just before the opponent has really sunk the position in. In the first photo here, Andy (with the dark hair) is about to lock the clinch position in on Tait. He does not yet, however, have his elbows in tight and his hands clamped down (Photo 1). When Tait can tell that Andy is going for the clinch, but before Andy can put his weight down on Tait, Tait stands up straight, pulling his hips in underneath him and making himself as tall as possible (Photo 2). Andy cannot keep hold of the clinch when Tait does this.

If, however, Tait is not able to escape the clinch before Andy sinks it in, he must find another method of escape. In the clinch position in photo 3, Andy is locked in tight. He has his hands clasped behind Tait's neck, pulling him down, and his elbows are pushed in to Tait's collarbones. This prevents Tait from attempting to take Andy down by dropping down and moving forward.

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